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Ella Wheeler Wilcox

(5 November 1850 - 30 October 1919 / Johnstown Center / Rock County / Wisconsin)

A Mother's Wail


The sweet young Spring walks over the earth,
It flushes and glows on moor and lea;
The birds are singing in careless mirth,
The brook flows cheerily on to the sea;
And I know that the flowers are blooming now
Over my beautiful darling's brow:
Blooming and blowing in perfume now
Over my poor lost darling's brow.


The breath of the passionate Summer turns
The green of the hills to a deeper dye;
The wind from the south land blows and burns,
The sun grows red in the brazen sky;
And I know that the long, dank grasses wave
Over my beautiful darling's grave:
Rise and fall, and lift and wave
Over my darling's narrow grave.


The days flow on, and the summer dies,
And glorious Autumn takes the crown;
And toward the south the robin flies,
And the green of the hills grows dull and brown;
And the leaves, all purple, and gold, and red,
Drift over my precious darling's bed:
Drift and flutter, all gold and red,
Over my darling's lowly bed.


The Winter comes with its chilling snows,
And wraps the world in a spotless shroud;
And cold from the north the wild wind blows,
And the tempest rages fierce and loud;
It shrieks, and sobs, and sighs, and weeps
Over the mound where my darling sleeps:
In pity, it sobs, and sighs, and weeps
Over the mound where my lost one sleeps.


He was so young, and fair, and brave:
The pride of my bosom-my heart's best joy;
And he lieth now in a drunkard's grave;
My beautiful darling, my only boy:
But down in my heart of hearts, I know
He has gone where his tempters never can go:
To heaven his soul has gone, I know,
Where the soul of his tempters never can go.


They charmed him into their licensed hell,
They gave him rum, and his eye grew wild;
And lower and lower down he fell,
Till they made a fiend of my precious child:
May the curses of God fall on the soul
Who gave my darling the poison bowl!
Ay, curses dark and deep on the soul
Who tempted my darling to lift the bowl!

Submitted: Friday, April 02, 2010

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